Bad bro days

The story of the address term bro in relatively recent years begins with its use by black men to black men, roughly (but not exactly) like the widely used American buddy — a term of male affiliation. It then spread into the wider culture, serving as a mark of male solidarity. This is what I called in a 4/12/16 posting “good”, positive, bro. But male solidarity tends to come with a dark side: rejection of anything perceived as feminine, played out as sturdy misogyny and homo-hatred in general; and the elevation of boys’ clubs (formed for whatever reasons) to boys-only clubs, aggressively hostile to women and to men perceived as inferior. When these guys use bro to address (or refer to) one another, then we’ve got what I called “bad”, negative, bro.

Regular use of bad bro between men in groups, for instance by fraternity boys and so-called brogrammers, has led to a steady pejoration of the term for people outside those male groups; bro is now a tainted term for many people, calling up unpleasant images of aggressive masculinity.

A brief review of these matters on this blog, then two recent entries in the conversation. And a cartoon too!

from 3/25/12, “On the bro- watch”: reference to bro as a “frat-house moniker”; brogrammers as asserting aggressive masculinity (with aggressive misogyny as a concomitant; boys’ clubs become boys-only clubs, even when physical displays of masculinity are not at issue [as in the case of programming])

from 3/27/12, “more bro”: broga – yoga for men: “Another chapter in the great book of protecting men from the taint of femininity”

from 4/12/16, “On the brocabulary watch: brocialist”: “bad”, negative bro, with misogynist connotations, as opposed to “good”, positive bro, connoting male bonding.

And now a recent Facebook comment from Aric Olnes, on the last of these postings:

In skiing, bad bros are called BroBrahs, but Michael [Thomas, Aric’s husband] likes to turn it around to BraBro for more impact. The most common utterance from BroBrahs on the slopes is a casual “Sorry, dude” shortly after they cut you off causing you to fall down.

The alternative – BraBro – plays on the emasculating nature of visualizing a guy in a bra.

And then from Brian Kane on Facebook, a reference to a douchbro (a transparently derisive portmanteau of douchebag and bro), which led me to the character Douche Bag in an ALT. cartoon by Dennis Caron, the “Gay Taste” strip of 4/17/13 with  (recurring) characters Cadence and Douche Bro:

From Caron’s website:

Denis Caron is the creator of Corvink, an art centered brand revolving around his art, comics, and designs. He was born on April 10th 1985, in Van Nuys, California and graduated with a degree in Psychology in 2007 at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

… L.A.W.L.S. (sometimes written LAWLS) is an acronym for “Large Air Whales Like Silence,” the title of the webcomic created by Denis Caron in 2010. L.A.W.L.S. started as a single comic, intending to be a Gag-a-Day, with a very loose story. Eventually, however, it became a rather complex and more investing story which no longer allowed Denis to write random jokes about other things that interested him. As a result, L.A.W.L.S. was split … into 3 individual parts: L.A.W.L.S. [Story Mode], the original storyline; ALT., a spin off about the main characters in regular day scenarios: dating, playing video games, getting coffee, etc; and Words of Interest, a comic about leaning fancy words.

One Response to “Bad bro days”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    Then there are the “BernieBros”, a pejorative term applied to certain enthusiastic (male) supporters of Senator Sanders, whose opposition to Hillary Clinton is perceived as having a sexist component.

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